I have been getting it all wrong. Okay, I am exaggerating a little bit, but you can imagine how I felt two days ago when I ran my Resume through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), and I saw 20/100, as in 20%. I legit screamed because I never thought my Resume was that bad. But the truth is, I have been lazy about working on it for the longest, so I guess I deserved that.
If you are reading this, run your Resume by ATS today. This is not even a piece of advice; it is the best thing you can do for yourself. The truth is that sometimes, it is not like we do not have the qualifications for a job we are applying for; we just are not positioning ourselves properly. I wish I had data to back it up already, but I don’t want to wait till I do before telling you about what I have learnt. I have barely slept a decent number of hours in the past two (2) days, but it was worth it.
I went from 20% to 66% back to 53% to 51% to 80%, then finally 97%.
How can you improve your Resume? I would focus on two important things: taking metrics and showing impact seriously and maintaining a one-column resume.
In taking metrics and showing impact seriously, you must quantify your accomplishments. There is no need for too much shalaye; just state what you have done and how much impact it made. The impact must be measurable; the best way to do this is with numbers. Examine the following to help you better quantify your Resume.
- If you held a particular leadership position, how many people did you lead? Would you say that you improved their retention rate? If yes, by what percentage?
- If you are working at a company whose current focus is profitability, by what margin did you increase the profits? How did you help the company save more resources in terms of time, money, and human resources?
- If you write blog posts, how many do you write in a week? How frequent are you in writing them? How many blog visits do you have? Did it increase over some time? What is the percentage of the positive reviews you have had?
- If you manage a social media account or are in charge of brand promotion for your company, how did you increase the engagement? Include the percentage and the time range.
- Managed the Medbuddy project for twelve (12) months and cut costs by 64%
- Developed a content marketing strategy that generated 30,000 website views
Two-column resumes are sexy and organized, but they don’t get high ATS scores or pass through ATS. If your Resume is heavily formatted, it becomes difficult for ATS to parse it correctly into categories. Thus, you would automatically get rejected even before a recruiter or a hiring manager gets to check out your Resume. However, if you are applying for a job directly through an employer, you can send your two-column Resume to showcase your organization and design skills.
- Stick to Word, Google docs or Canva when creating your Resume. Make sure it is in a readable PDF format. My dearest reader, do not use Figma unless you would set yourself up for unwarranted stress. I spent 5+ hours designing my Resume on Figma, using auto layout and feeling myself, only for me to run it via a parser, and it was unreadable.
- Use keywords from the job advertised. If a job advert reads, “we are looking for someone who is collaborative,” try to include that in your Resume.
- Avoid using tables or any form of heavily formatting. Just keep it simple.
- Use strong action verbs, e.g. initiated, achieved, coordinated, developed, improved, managed, implemented etc.
- Use dates and keep them in a standard and consistent format.
- Title your sections to make them clear and readable. For example, “Education”, “Professional or Work Experience”, “Projects”, “Skills” etc.
- Check out resumeworded.com to know if your Resume is ATS compliant.
- If you do not have the time, pay a specialist for it.
I had to share these tips immediately because I wish someone had told me this earlier or I had done proper research before applying for some jobs. I am grateful for the amazing people in my network who helped review and make valuable suggestions. Anyways, please help yourself to these tips, get people to review and let’s get those wins 💪🏿
I apologize for not giving an update last week; I had minimal free time and had to rest. I would try to make up for it this week or sometime next week. I hope you had a great read!